Conservation Groups fed Parliament a 'Hurricane of Misinformation', according to leading scientists
Conservation groups have been accused of misleading parliament after providing a 'hurricane of misinformation', it was claimed this week.
This was in relation to the government's position on banning the imports of hunting trophies, however it could easily be applied to a range of policy campaigns driven by activists conservation groups. 'Ban the Burn' campaign or the relentless accusations of bird of prey persecution, despite birds of prey being at record highs, to name just two.
Amy Dickman, a professor of wildlife conservation at Oxford University, said researchers had analysed 118 statements made by MPs during a parliamentary debate last month and found that 85 (72 per cent) were either false or misleading. She said they included erroneous claims that there were as few as 10,000 lions left in the wild and that British trophy hunters were among the world's 'most active killers' of endangered animals.
'This recent debate showed how easy it is for clear misinformation to be accepted and shared by MPs, and used to directly influence policy-making,' Prof Dickman said. 'That is shocking, and highlights a major risk of biased interest groups being able to influence legislation.'
Adam Hart, a professor of science communication at the University of Gloucestershire, described the 'scale of misinformation' in Parliament as 'staggering and deeply concerning'. He blamed the influence of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, whose director, Eduardo Goncalves, provides secretariat services for an all-party parliamentary group of MPs who support the ban.
'Our concerns are based on evidence and experience, but we are whispering in a hurricane of misinformation deliberately manufactured to advance bans that will likely cause irreversible conservation harm,' Prof Hart added.